Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Flipping pancakes! Russias Putin and Chinas Xi bond over cooking

Flipping pancakes! Russias Putin and Chinas Xi bond over cooking

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday suggested that Russia and Japan should sign a much-anticipated peace treaty formally ending hostilities from World War II before the end of the year.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2R) and China's President Xi Jinping (R) attend the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 12, 2018.

Should the dispute finally be put to an end, Russian Federation and Japan could formally sign a peace agreement - 71 years after the end of the World War II.

"Let's conclude a peace agreement, not now but by year's end without any preconditions", Putin said, with the audience breaking into applause. But Abe, who was sitting on the same stage, did not provide any response during the forum.

The top government spokesman also said Japan will not change its position of seeking to resolve the issue of the islands' sovereignty, before concluding the peace treaty with Russian Federation.

Tokyo quickly reiterated its preferred course: resolving Japan and Russia's long-standing territorial dispute before finalizing the post-World War II peace treaty.

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Observers say that his visit is part of a fresh round of New Delhi's engagement with Moscow, which will culminate in October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host Mr. Putin for the India-Russia annual summit. Japan wants them back. "Okay", Putin said, before proposing they sign a peace treaty. Putin said that Russian-South Korean trade rose 27% last year and 8% in the first half of this year, according to Yonhap news agency.

Establishing its sovereignty over the islands is the crucial issue for Japan, so it would be unlikely to sign a deal without first receiving some assurances from the Kremlin over the fate of the islands.

Russian commentator Georgy Kunadze, a former deputy foreign minister, told Ekho Moskvy radio that he believes Putin was "trolling" Abe and "does not expect anything" to result from the proposal.

"This stance hasn't changed", he added.

During Xi's visit, Xi and Putin charted the course for bilateral pragmatic cooperation in the next phase - strengthening the synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, expanding cooperation in such fields as energy, agriculture, scientific and technological innovation and finance, promoting the steady implementation of major projects, and boosting joint research and development of cutting-edge science and technology.

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